Having not eating a chicken parmi (chicken parmigiana) since Australia and with a chicken breast ready and waiting in the fridge, I knew exactly what was on the menu tonight, can you guess? Pasta. No just kidding, a parmi..
Parmigiana originates in Italy from the word Parmesan, therefore it is traditionally breaded vegetables or meat covered in tomato sauce, cheese and then grilled. You can find chicken or beef parmigiana all over Australia in pubs and it is a common cheap ‘pub meal’, served with a pint of lager.
Parmi’s are a no-frills, quick and easy meal that taste great and hit the spot. I decided to make my own tomato sauce, but you can buy a marinara sauce from the supermarket if you feel so inclined. I began by making the sauce, which consisted of 3 cloves of garlic, half an onion, 2 Birdseye or Thai chillies, a couple of sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leaf, a can of diced tomatoes and some basil leaves. I cooked the diced onion, garlic and chilli over high heat with some olive oil until colored, I then added the canned tomato, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper and allowed to simmer over a medium flame, finishing with the basil.
Next came the chicken, which I covered in a sheet of cling film and bashed to about 1 inch thick with a bottle (a meat tenderizer or rolling pin would work too). I then seasoned it well, dipped it in flour, then a beaten egg and then panko. I cooked the now crumbed chicken in a frying pan over medium to high heat in butter and oil. As both my sauce and the chicken were cooking, I sliced some parsnips into fries and cooked over a high heat in olive oil.
When my chicken was colored nicely and cooked through I topped it with the tomato sauce, some grated cheese (a good yellow cheddar, not that horrible orange American cheddar), some Parmesan and placed under the grill (broiler) until the cheese was melted and bubbling.
While the chicken was cooking, I kept a close eye on the parsnip fries that were cooking over a high heat as they cook quickly and can burn. Once everything was done I salted the parsnip fries, knocked up a quick salad and served with an ice cold beer, an IPA (beer compulsory, or if you’re gluten-free like my housemate, cider acceptable).